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By Jasmin Raddon Centre Manager of The Learning Sanctuary Littlehampton


A question that many parents ask themselves when raising their child is, “Once my child reaches the age of independence will they be a thoughtful, compassionate and kind?”

This question is often provoked by witnessing their beautiful, angelic cherub enter the toddler years when life for them, becomes all about ME!

Firstly – don’t panic! Toddlers are ego-centric and this is a perfectly normal stage of development. They will learn about respecting other people’s boundaries, following rules and helping others – and that you, putting their favourite cup in the dishwasher was not a deliberate attempt to ruin their life!

I am lucky enough to be the Centre Manager of a wonderful centre – The Learning Sanctuary Littlehampton – and with over 14 years’ experience I have learnt a thing or two about ‘taming the tiger’ in your little person and I would love to share my wisdom with you.

Here are my top 5 tips for not only surviving the toddler years, but also (somehow, amazingly!) successfully, raise your child to be kind:


1. Role modelling

The most powerful role model in your child’s life is you! Channel your inner Dalai Lama and embody kindness in everything you do. The best way to do this is to foster a community of kindness within the walls of your own home. Do things for each other, say thank you to each other, be there to hug and provide a shoulder to cry on when someone needs it. Your toddler is always watching.

2. Deep breathing and moving on quickly from moments where you feel challenged

I like to think of toddlers as emotional stud detectors. They pick up on the vulnerable emotions around them and invoke “the witching hour” when you are at your lowest coping point of the day.

Husband forgot your birthday? They know.

Mother in law coming to visit? They know.

Best friend asked someone else to be her bridesmaid? They know.

Hard day at work? They know that too. They always know!

Fight hard to maintain your tranquillity. Think of yourself as a peaceful meadow with a beautiful lake. At sunset. In Italy. Keep up a good supply of calming essential oils in a diffuser. Crank it at maximum velocity. Breathe deeply. Be mindful of the conversations you have about work with your partner because children are listening and often wondering if you like work at all. Sometimes they worry for you. When your child challenges you, set your expectations and then move on quickly in a positive way.

3. Calm and patience

Sometimes your toddler will be overwhelmed by their emotions. They are still learning how to self-regulate and reacting negatively in these moments can often exacerbate the problem. It’s important to let your child feel what they need to feel. Let them know it’s ok to express their emotions, try not to encourage them to stop or hold it in. Weather the storm alongside them and you might be surprised at the result.

Sit next to them in the midst of their emotional response, say, “I can see you are feeling very cross/sad. That’s ok. I feel that way too sometimes. Do you need a hug”? If the answer is an angry NO – stay calm, “Ok, I’ll just sit here near you in case you need me if you change your mind.” Let it run its course and be there at the end for support and reassurance. You will both feel better for it.

 4. Practice makes perfect!

You may be inclined to keep your child housebound until they grow out of their toddler years. However, your child will benefit from every opportunity to engage in trial and error in their interactions with others. Research good quality children’s programs in your area to give your child plenty of opportunities to develop their social skills. Consider a Montessori education model. Dr. Maria Montessori had a vision for World Peace and developed a whole ‘Grace & Courtesy’ curriculum for her education and care philosophy. At The Learning Sanctuary Littlehampton this is our philosophy. Maria Montessori believed teaching children to care for each other with empathy and respect was the key to humanity and the very survival of our world, that children are our future. The Grace & Courtesy curriculum contains specific lessons such as; using manners, serving others, community participation, practising mindfulness through meditation and relaxation, respecting personal space boundaries and turn taking.

5. Be kind to yourself

Last but not least – be kind to yourself. You will have a much better capacity to show kindness to others if you have taken care of yourself first. Take a break when you need to, stay connected to others who know how you are feeling, reach out to other mums and dads in the same situation and if today didn’t go as planned, tomorrow is a new day – don’t beat yourself up.

Keep wine and chocolate on hand for emergencies only.

Good luck and much love to each and every Mum-Adelady out there doing their best every day!

Jasmin xx


By Jasmin Raddon Centre Manager of The Learning Sanctuary Littlehampton

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Hayley Pearson

Hayley Pearson

Co-Creator and Writer for Adelady, she still gets goosebumps that she’s combined her creative passion with sharing the best of her stunning home state.

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